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Performance Reviews:


As A Sideman:

Chicago Tribune review of the Eddie Harris Quintet

...seems to have everything going for him. And so does the still young but completely mature Paul Wertico, whose percussion support shadowed the soloists to perfection. Best known for his work with Pat Metheny, Wertico got into an invigorating jazz-rock groove behind pianist Jodie Christian on "Freedom Jazz Dance" and then tore through "Anthropology" like a bebop master, finishing things off with a solo that was full of technical marvels but sounded as though it had been conceived as a single thought.

Chicago Sun-Times review of the Simon & Bard Group

Paul Wertico, an inspired madman on the drums.

Chicago Tribune review of the Simon & Bard Group

The group's sheer enthusiasm carried the day, especially that of drummer Paul Wertico, who makes rock-jazz rhythms swing as hard as any percussionist I've ever heard.

Los Angeles Times review of the 'Special Quartet'

The rhythm team of Haden and Wertico devoted most of its attention to building a solid foundation for Metheny and Watts. But when they moved to the front of the music, they made the most out of it. Wertico, a drummer who thinks in patterns and structures rather than slams and smashes, used his solos - especially on "Off Ramp" - to show that good percussion has as much to do with silences as it does with sounds.

Chicago Tribune review of the Buddy De Franco/Terry Gibbs Quintet

Praise, too, should go to the entire rhythm section. If I single out drummer Paul Wertico, that is because he and Gibbs were so perfectly attuned to each other, and because the drummer came up with a brush solo on "Now's the Time" whose soft-shoe wit would have tickled Shelly Manne. Don't miss this one.

Chicago Tribune review of the Larry Coryell Trio

"And Wertico, a percussionist as imaginative as he is facile, slipped between solo passages and backup ones with an elegance and ease one does not often encounter in trio settings."

Chicago Reader's "Critic's Choice" on Charles Gayle

...and drummer Paul Wertico, a choice that will surprise many. But despite his tightly reined percussion work for the Pat Metheny Group, Wertico plays free better than almost anyone, and he's one of the few drummers who can accelerate to maximum warp as quickly as Gayle.

Chicago Tribune review of Charles Gayle

The extended sonic tone poems that Wertico produced and the sheer diversity of ideas that Bankhead expressed affirmed that the best new music is built on brains and technique.

Chicago Reader's "Critic's Choice" on the 'LA To Chicago Reunion Band'

If you haven't been reading this space over the last few years, you might not know about the hyperdrive energy and creative precision that distinguish the drumming of Wertico, the redoubtable anchor of the Pat Metheny Group; in any case, now you do.

Chicago Tribune review of Rebecca Parris

The real virtuosity in this set, then, came from the instrumentalists. Wertico's percussion solos yielded an array of lush and and brilliant colors.

Chicago Reader's "Critic's Choice" on the Laurence Hobgood Trio with Larry Coryell

First of all the band will include drummer Paul Wertico (who, when not on the road with the Pat Metheny Group, graces Hobgood's trio here at home). Wertico, by Coryell's own admission, helps push his playing to an especially high level; the virtuosic drummer has developed a fusion of buzz-cut precision and jazz's loose-limbed freedom, and it forms a supportive floor for Coryell's spiky, tobagganing improvisations. The bond is even stronger between Wertico and Hobgood. The pianist's playing barrels along with a similar blend of brains and brawn, and the two musicians feed off each other to produce piano solos in Technicolor and CinemaScope.

Chicago Tribune review of the John Moulder Trio

Chicago percussionist Paul Wertico matched Moulder's intensity without overshadowing him, a feat easier described than accomplished. Throughout, Wertico offered a remarkable range of ideas and techniques, from the great splashes of color he produced in the music of Monk to New Orleans-inspired "second-line" rhythms later in the set.

Chicago Reader's "Critic's Choice" on Gregg Bendian

Saturday, Bendian joins Chicago drummer (and longtime member of the Pat Metheny Group) Paul Wertico for an afternoon concert of improvised percussion duets. They've done this before, and the results once again will confound your expectations: feeding off each other's rhythms and dynamics, they create a series of battered bijous, each with its own distinct shape and texture.

Chicago Sun-Times review of the Larry Coryell Trio

...there was no lack of explosiveness. Not with him and drummer Paul Wertico pushing each other to extremes, Coryell daring Wertico to keep up with his dazzling runs and Wertico answering by bashing up a storm. Throughout, Coryell kept the music in the air with his offbeat sense of time. It's not just that he lagged behind the beat - which in Wertico's presence was akin to loitering at the tracks before crossing. He also revealed his roots as an easygoing Texas native through pauses and bluesy rhythmic bends. On Monk's great ballad, "Ruby My Dear", Coryell honed his approach to produce a dark, gleaming, spiritual quality, expertly swept along by Wertico's brushes. The guitarist and drummer, while not frequent collaborators, have played together before. The ease with which they communicated made for music full of wit as well as warmth. Neither so much as smiled when Coryell eased off from his charged on "Dragon Gate" by quoting from "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To." Highly Recommended...Guitarist Coryell and Chicago drummer Paul Wertico hook up to dynamic effect.

Chicago Reader's "Critic's Choice" on the Larry Coryell Trio

Wertico shares Coryell's musical schizophrenia: he works in Pat Metheny's group and leads one of the country's best fusion trios (fronted by guitarist John Moulder), but regularly settles into straight jazz like Joe Sixpack into his favorite armchair.

Chicago Sun-Times review of the Chicago Jazz Ensemble

The greatest pleasure was provided by the tandem of occational CJE drummer Paul Wertico and the great Don Moye. Wertico charged the "Sardinian Suite" with bashing intensity. He and Moye, who mostly played congas, left the crowd envisioning a different kind of musical summit.

Chicago Sun-Times review of the Frank Catalano/Randy Brecker Quintet

Fueled by the combustive rhythm section of Willie Pickens, Michael Arnopol and Paul Wertico, Catalano and Brecker were firing on all cylinders before shifting into second gear.

Berlingske Tidende review of the Niels Lan Doky Group

To a remarkable extent during his solos, Niels Lan Doky was incredibly inspired and creative....especially Paul Wertico contributed very importantly in making the music forward-moving and jazz-oriented.

Denmark review of the Niels Lan Doky Group

It was especially to the American drummer Paul Wertico's and French percussionist Xavier Desandre-Navarre's merit, that the concert was such a success, because they really made Doky's beautiful and well-arranged melodies come alive, to the point where the roof nearly blew off the venue! review of the Bunky Green Quartet

The group had a playful demeanor and each was a wonderful soloist. Wertico caught the crowd off guard with an amazing drum solo using only his hands.

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